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NANJING
FOREIGN LANGUAGES SCHOOL
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Stars Light up Children's Eyes.

Stars Light up Children's Eyes

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If it were not Mr. Ye Lianping, 92, who personally came to Nanjing Foreign Language School to present a banner, the teachers of the Students’ Affairs Office would not think that the students in our school have had a collaboration that lasted for a semester with the school for left-behind children.

Because he had to rush back to class, Ye did not stop at Nanjing Foreign Language School, but left a note and a banner in the reception room.

Unexpected banner

After a simple telephone conversation with Ye, the Students’ Affairs Office, together with the group of Senior Grade 1, quickly searched for the students who participated in the tutoring of left-behind children in Buchen cram school. They are Yuan Zichen, Chen Hanzhi, Pan Yi, Wang Ruoxi, Guo Ruitian, Ji Jie, Tao Zui, Zhao Yihan, Ye Xingzhi, and He Chengkun of Class 7 Senior Grade 1.

What is more unexpected to the teachers is that every Saturday two of these students were arranged to teach foreign languages in Buchen Left-Behind Children's Cram School in He County, Anhui Province on schedule. Over the past six months, they have formed a deep friendship with Ye and the children there.

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Mr. Ye Lianping

Ye Lianping, a retired junior high school teacher in Buchen, He County, Anhui Province, the founder of Buchen Left-behind Children’s School, a good man in China, a national advanced individual in moral education, a model worker at the ministerial level, a provincial May Day Labor medal, an excellent teacher in Anhui Province, an advanced individual in Anhui Province who cares about the next generation, and an excellent Communist Party member in Anhui Province.

He was born in 1928, and served as an English teacher in Buchen Junior Middle School starting in 1978, and retired in 1991. In response to the weak English teachers in rural schools and the learning difficulties of left-behind children, with the support of the local government, he founded a school for left-behind children in 2000 to teach local students English. For 19 years, Ye has not only taken nothing, but also bought stationery, books and prizes for his students at his own expense. His deeds have been reported by the central and local media such as People's Daily, Guangming Daily, China Education Daily, China Youth Daily and Anhui Daily.

Public welfare is the test of endurance

Yuan Zichen, who is responsible for this activity, said that they launched the supported teaching activity, which has lasted for one semester, by chance. Because the school advocated public welfare activities, like many students, she wanted to participate in social practice activities, so she begged her mother to help her find public welfare projects to participate in. Shortly afterwards, under the leadership of a public welfare organization in Nanjing, they reached a teaching plan in collaboration with Ye, the founder of the Buchen Left-behind Children’s Home in He County, Anhui Province.

According to the plan, Yuan Zichen and her classmates will establish a teaching support project team, and on the afternoon of every Saturday two of them will be arranged to go to the left-behind children's home to teach an English class for the children there. The teaching content is the English textbook of Fifth Grade designated by Ye, and they communicate with Ye about the teaching progress and specific arrangements before each class. At the end of each class, the two students will have handover with the students who will have the next class to ensure the continuity of the course progress.

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The students prepare lessons carefully after school

At first, the students who had never had any experience in supporting education were excited and perturbed. “I have always been eager to do something for society, and this is a very meaningful activity that we can do right now,” said Tao Zui, who participated in the activity. In their view, the activity is very meaningful. “My classmates also have the same ideas and enthusiasm to serve the society as I do.” Yuan Zichen was very proud of the students' enthusiasm and work.

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During supporting education

 Unlike traditional teaching activities, students need to do many work of this teaching activity by themselves, which is a great test and exercise for their ability to coordinate and cooperate. They quickly established the Star Little Project group. After discussing and determining the working arrangements and processes of supporting education, and obtaining the consent and support of their parents, the first group of students officially went to the school to teach, and then they did it twice and third time. “Thank more and more students for joining us and carefully preparing lessons, giving lectures and summarizing after class,” Yuan Zichen said.

The activity has also received the full support of parents. It is about 63 kilometers from downtown Nanjing to the school, and it takes half a day to take inter-provincial buses and buses, so parents pick up their children according to the schedule. “Thank all the parents for their support and hard work in driving back and forth, we have finished the teaching at weekend of the whole semester,” He Chengkun, a student who participated in the activity, told teachers.

 Experiencing social responsibility personally

Looking back on their teaching experience, Chen Hanzhi and Pan Yi said that what is the most impressive is education and emotion they have got from Ye. “We have more gains and understanding than the insignificant help that we have given to Ye and his children.” 

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Interacting with children

 In the eyes of Wang Ruoxi and Ji Jie, the white-haired teacher Ye, at the age of 92, is still struggling in his teaching position. He has been teaching these left-behind children for 19 years, and even if he was injured in a car accident, there is no other word to describe him except reverence.

Ye Xingzhi's hometown is He County, Anhui Province. In his dim childhood memory, it was synonymous with poverty and remoteness. Therefore, he has a feeling of resistance every time he follows his parents back to his hometown. Participating in the supporting education gave him more complex thinking about rural children and rural education.

“When we really get in touch with them, we find that they are as lively and naughty as we are, eager for new things, and will give the most enthusiastic response to our classes.” But after getting along with them more deeply, students gradually realized that the real gap between urban children and rural left-behind children is not only in material conditions, but also in the lack of educational resources and the limitation of the growth environment. Children lack the imagination of the future, and are confused about the purpose of learning.

 Zhao Yihan also has such experience, and he has never thought about the current situation of left-behind children and the underlying problems. “This is a question which is worth pondering.”

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Children's words to these brothers and sisters

Guo Ruitian believes that it cannot change anything by giving the class of a few hours every week, but he hope that through his efforts left-behind children can learn more English and master more learning methods and know more about the outside world. He also expects to bring some light to their lives, even if it is as faint as starlight. “This is our social responsibility and the wish of Ye.”

Stars light up children's eyes

This group of students gave their supporting education activity a simple name - Star Little Project. Stars, like Taiwan singer Zheng Zhihua's Star Lights, are the faint starlight in the night sky. They are illuminating the children's eyes with their own light. A single spark can start a prairie fire, which is another implication of the project. They hope that every student with a real heart of public welfare will join in and do their part for those who need help. The light and heat of a star are weak, but when many stars are connected, they will release huge light and heat, and will eventually become a prairie fire.

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Group photo of members of Star Little Project